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The Right of Publicity and Mainstream Media

It is no secret that the United States is a country that is absolutely fascinated with television and sports in particular. Shows such as ESPN, ESPN2, and Fox Sports are but a few of the plethora of programming available to consumers.   Given that there is such a huge market for advertisers to reach consumers, these advertisers want to use these athlete’s in order to sell their products or services.  That is where the right of publicity comes in and takes center stage.

The right of publicity helps protect the commercial value of a person’s likeness and guards the inherent right of every person to control the commercial use of his or her identity.  It is the vehicle that allows athlete’s to endorse certain products or services through the licensing of their names, images, or any other indicia of the athlete’s likeness.  Consequently, it is also the mechanism that prevents third parties from using the identity of a person to draw attention to an advertisement or product.  So next time you turn on the television set, think about the massive market that the law protects through the right of publicity.

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